We are excited to announce the official launch of UDW’s very own credit union on May 16 in partnership with Providence Federal Credit Union (PFCU)! Union leaders have been working with PFCU for months to create products and services designed specifically to meet our needs as caregivers and family child care providers. William Reed, UDW Secretary-Treasurer, is ready to share how this benefit can empower fellow providers.

“UDW members need and want a credit union, and together we made it happen,” said William. “Our new credit union partnership is a major new benefit that provides members a whole range of banking with services catered specifically to home care and family child care providers.”

PFCU members can count on everyday benefits like online, mobile, and phone banking services; access to 90,000 surcharge-free ATMs; free checking and savings accounts; low-interest loans specifically designed with UDW members in mind; and free financial wellness classes and counseling to help you achieve a secure financial future. PFCU also offers a second chance checking account for those of us who have struggled with our credit in the past. Our friends at PFCU are flexible and open to adjusting to our needs, especially as IHSS providers have a state-mandated deadline to register for direct deposit by July 1.

Unlike for-profit banks, our credit union is designed to put us first. Before the benefit opens to all members on May 16, William and other union leaders signed up early to test the services and customer service. He reported that working with PFCU has been a great experience.

“They’ve been very welcoming, available, and accommodating,” said William. “PFCU has made me feel like they are my bank. In a world where we are pulling away from person-to-person contact, PFCU is still focusing on creating personal connections with our members.”

Desmond Prescott, District 3 Chair, also joined the credit union and has seen the difference that having a not-for-profit organization help you manage your funds can make—not only in your wallet but in your peace of mind.

“PFCU recognizes care workers and the valuable work we do, and creates products specifically with us in mind,” he said. “They value our work and care to protect the money we work so hard for.”

Desmond was amazed by the speedy response he’s had throughout his enrollment process and the variety of services PFCU offers our members, from low-interest loans catering to caregivers, to a financial wellness program personalized to your specific financial goals, and access to low-interest credit. There was one benefit that made the biggest impact on Desmond, so far.

“My favorite PFCU service was the low-interest balance transfer!” He said. “I was able to transfer my balance from a 25% interest credit card to PFCU at only 4% interest. I did the calculations, and this one benefit is saving me thousands of dollars.”

UDW members work hard, and we deserve a members-first financial institution that will work for us and give us the exceptional service, easy access, and quality products that we deserve!

To become a member or learn more visitwww.providencecu.org/UDW or call 1-888-849-5189.

Magdalena Castillo cares for her 38-year-old daughter, Leticia, through the IHSS program. Leticia is the oldest of three siblings and lives with Seckel syndrome, a rare genetic condition that slows growth before and after birth, causing dwarfism, intellectual disability and, in her case, limited mobility. As a result, Leticia requires round-the-clock care.

Originally, Magdalena and her children lived in San Jose, where she worked as a clerk for the county. Magdalena’s three children attended a local daycare with help from subsidy programs. When they moved to Los Baños, Leticia attended a day program while her mother worked, and her brothers were in school. But when Leticia could no longer attend the day program, Magdalena knew something had to change.

Then, 17 years ago, she heard about IHSS.

At first it seemed too good to be true, but once she learned more, she decided to give it a try. Leticia deserved an active and engaged life, and Magdalena knew she could provide her with those opportunities—and now she could do just that, while still supporting her family.

Magdalena joined the union right away because she knew it was invaluable to have a strong union supporting her and her fellow workers.

Low IHSS wages certainly made it difficult for her as a single mother of three, but she made it work. Her boys eventually grew up and joined the military, leaving Magdalena and Leticia alone in their home and making things a little easier financially.. Although living on a fixed income is challenging, Magdalena is grateful for the IHSS program.

“I have the luxury of being with my daughter,” she said. “She’s getting older and there are so many more health issues that are coming about, but I’m so glad I’m able to take care of all her needs and advocate for her medical care.”

Together, Magdalena and Leticia spend hours crafting, gardening, playing with their dogs, and finding bargains at their local stores. More recently, Magdalena and Leticia volunteered at a UDW food distribution event in Merced.

“It was our first-time volunteering together and I was so proud and thankful to be able to share that experience with her,” said Magdalena.

Next, they’re looking forward to fighting for higher wages, sick pay, retirement, and vacation time. They are also excited to meet other UDW members and continue strengthening their bonds with their fellow union siblings:

“They’re not just my union people, they are there for me to have confidence and be able to talk to for support.”

“Our experience in Montgomery was a clear reminder that we have come so far in our fight for our rights, but we have so much further to go,” said UDW Secretary-Treasurer, William Reed.

On March 10, UDW members gathered in Montgomery, Alabama to walk an 11-mile leg of a 50-mile march in honor of the 57th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery march, originally led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and thousands of non-violent demonstrators fighting for voting rights.

But first, we had a lot to learn.

To kick-off our trip, we trekked through rain and cold winds to visit some of Montgomery’s most historic sites and pay our respects to the incredible leadership and sacrifice that occurred throughout the city during the Civil Rights Movement. During our time in Montgomery, we took the time to make connections across centuries and learn not only about this country’s history, but about the roots of domestic labor, its ties to slavery and people of color, and why it continues to be undervalued today.

On our first day in the city, we participated in a walking tour that highlighted the history of the transatlantic slave trade, its transition into domestic slave trade, and Alabama’s role in its growth. We visited the Riverfront which was largely responsible for the growth of the domestic slave trade because of the newer means of transportation available, such as steamboats and the nearby railroad. We also walked down Commerce Street and visited locations that served as slave depots and the auction blocks where hundreds of thousands of enslaved people were sold along with land and livestock.

“I felt profound sadness to know how Black people were oppressed and that white people took joy out of doing such horrible things,” said District 7 Vice Chair Maria Isabel Serrano. “It hurt to see generations upon generations of pain, because I know that hearts don’t ever fully heal from such things.”  

We began the civil rights portion of our tour at the bus stop where Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man, sparking the 1956 Montgomery Bus Boycott, a major catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement. As we stood at the Rosa Parks statue, we learned that Black domestic workers made up the bulk of bus riders and were essentially the backbone of the boycott. Without the support, defiance, and dedication of our fellow domestic workers, the Montgomery Bus Boycott would have failed.

The tour continued through Dexter Avenue Baptist Church and the parish where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his family lived while he was the church’s pastor. Established in 1877 by freedmen and free people of color, the church served as a meeting place for civil rights organizers while planning the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

We concluded our historical walking tour at the Civil Rights Memorial, a memorial to 41 individuals who were killed by white supremacists between 1955-1968. At the center of the memorial stood a flattop fountain with the names, dates of death and manner of death engraved on it. We stood over the circular fountain and read every name, date, and manner of death, and reflected on the unnecessary violence Black folks endured while fighting for their humanity.  

The next day, we visited three museums: the Legacy Museum, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, and the Freedom Riders Museum.

The Legacy Museum provided a comprehensive history of our country from the transatlantic slave trade to the emergence of over-incarceration in the 20th century. Founded by Bryan Stevenson, the museum was built with the intention to help people understand the pain, the suffering, and the truth behind our country’s history: We interacted with holographic projections of enslaved children, saw jars filled with dirt from hundreds of locations where lynchings took place across the U.S., and listened to recorded interviews with Black people unjustly put behind bars.

We then headed to a memorial to the more than 4,400 Black people who were lynched in America between 1877 and 1950, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. While there, we read the stories behind some of the lynchings, including one of a domestic worker named Eliza Woods who was falsely accused of poisoning her employer’s wife. Although her employer later confessed to killing his wife, Eliza was dragged from her cell by local townspeople and lynched. The museum also paid tribute to the Black domestic workers who made the Montgomery Bus Boycott possible, with three statues in their honor.

The last museum we visited was the Freedom Riders, which recounted the stories of more than 400 riders, both Black and white, who risked their lives to travel to the deep South and violate Jim Crow laws in order to challenge a segregated interstate travel system. At the museum we saw various editions of “The Green Book,” a travel guide that enabled Black travelers to find lodgings, businesses, restaurants, and stores that would serve them, and read various stories detailing the rider’s journeys and the extreme violence they faced.

The two days of educational and historical background fired us up for one of the trip’s highlights—commemorating the 57th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery March. We led the fourth leg of the march in support of voting rights alongside various unions, including the AFL-CIO and AFSCME, and hundreds of supporters from around the country. The march was a total of 50 miles through a span of 5 days from Selma to the steps of Alabama’s State Capitol in Montgomery. Each leg of the march was led by community organizations, including the National Action Network, Black Voters Matter, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Women’s Roundtable.

A few of us, including UDW Vice President Astrid Zuniga, completed all 11 miles of the march that day.

“I wanted to march as much as I could because it was my way of honoring the lives and the struggles of the original foot soldiers, even though I know that this is only a sliver of what they experienced in the 60s,” Astrid said. “The blisters and tiredness are only a small portion of the pain and hardships civil rights leaders and people of color experienced during that time.”

The march concluded on Friday, March 18, as we walked the last steps alongside our fellow unions and marchers and gathered on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery for a special rally. The speakers, including UDW Executive Director Doug Moore, spoke out against voter suppression and the road that awaits us in our fights for civil rights and equity for all.

“The work of ensuring the right to vote is far from over,” said Doug. “We are battling the voices of hate that want to disenfranchise voters of color. Our people were harassed and beaten for fighting for the right to vote and they are not about to take it away from us now. When we vote, we vote for equity. We vote for justice. We vote for the people—all people.”

The days we spent together in Montgomery were heavy with grief and reflection.

“Our experience in Montgomery was a clear reminder that we have come so far in our fight for our rights, but we have so much further to go,” said UDW Secretary-Treasurer William Reed. “The pain that comes from remembering what it was like to see my own family members lynched or being rejected from eating at certain establishments still remains, but it’s really nice to see that the torch for change is being carried on.”

Through our time in Alabama, we were reminded that our work as care providers is the backbone of this country’s economy and that we have the power to create change. Our voices are louder, stronger, and more impactful when we come together and speak up for our rights. We are important; our work is invaluable; and the roots of our power and passion for change are deep, strong, and still expanding. Our foundation is strong and so is our will for change.

Union membership is powerful! The work we have done together to lift up caregiving over the past year made legislators recognize how valuable our work is to the community. Now, thanks to all of us raising our voices, they are finally recognizing us with more than kind words—they are rewarding us with bonus pay for our dedication.

How did this happen? Caregivers and our advocates made sure the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) included funding to give IHSS providers Heroes Pay: a one-time payment of $500 to any IHSS provider who worked a minimum of two months between March 2020 and March 2021. The state has started disbursing the funds, which they are calling “Care Economy Payments,” and payouts should be completed by Jan. 28, 2022. If you believe you are eligible and do not receive your payment by mid-February, please let us know!

“UDW fought hard for this recognition of our members,” said UDW Executive Director Doug Moore. “IHSS caregivers provide invaluable care to vulnerable and at-risk Californians daily and this one-time payment is the least that the state can do to support our efforts through this pandemic. This shows just how far we have come and what we can do with a powerful and strong union.”

IHSS providers and other home caregivers are an important part of our country’s infrastructure. Heroes Pay is only a small step toward having our leaders respect what we do and reward it as the essential work that it is. Through our union, we will continue to fight for what is right and keep working for a better tomorrow for all. Together, we can make sure caregiving heroes get what we deserve every day. 

UDW members elected by their peers to be delegates gathered in San Diego on June 7-9 for our 16th Constitutional Convention. Under a slogan that reflects the work we do and what it takes to do it— “Caregiver Strong”—we set a course for UDW’s future that focuses on protecting IHSS, raising the pay and status of caregivers, and standing up for the values we share as working people.

UDW bylaws call for conventions to be held every three years. At convention, we bring our experiences and our wisdom to the table to report on what we’ve accomplished so far and prepare for the challenges that lay ahead of us.

UDW President Editha Adams shared some of our successes and challenges during her President’s report, including: demanding and getting an audit of the IHSS payroll system, winning the option to use online timesheets, overtime pay and restoration of the seven percent cut to IHSS made during the budget crisis. She also talked about the issues we continue to fight: Federal interference in our program from Medicaid cuts and Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) and our most important issue UDW has and will never stop fighting for: raising caregiver pay.

“As I look back on the last three years, I am both proud of what we’ve done and excited for what we can yet accomplish,” said Adams.

When he addressed the convention, UDW Executive Director Doug Moore urged delegates to look to the bigger issues of social justice if we want to truly better life for ourselves and our families.

“As a union, we have always fought for more than just wages and benefits to better our members’ lives,” said Moore. “We know that helping ourselves, our clients and our families means helping our communities and the people in them. UDW is shaping the future by investing in people, always looking for ways we can lift each other up where others try to keep us down.”

Several special guests joined us to show their support for the work that UDW caregivers do. Assemblymember Shirley Weber, AFSCME International President Lee Saunders, President Pro Tem of the California State Senate Toni Atkins and Executive Director of the Solidarity Center Shawna Bader-Blau all addressed our delegates, offering support and perspective for the work caregivers do at home and in their communities. All speakers expressed gratitude and respect for the work that caregivers do.

“I see compassionate people making it possible for the sick and elderly to live in their own homes with comfort and dignity,” said Bader-Blau as she looked around the room.

For UDW member and convention delegate Maria Vega from Orange County, the convention was a valuable learning opportunity. “You learn more, you get to ask questions—everyone’s so helpful!” she said. Vega, who cares for her mother, said she learned about how the union works and is governed, but also about using new technology tools like the UDW App that help her everyday as a caregiver. And, of course, she learned to stay motivated to protect IHSS and our clients. “You keep fighting,” she said, “and you never give up.”

At convention we also passed several resolutions to help guide our future work (see full list below), and made changes to our constitution.

“I felt so privileged to be able to attend,” said UDW caregiver Denise Justice of Santa Barbara County. “Seeing resolutions being passed was very cool and exciting – it gave me the extra push to get out there and be active. The solidarity and comradery of my brothers and sisters at convention was amazing.”

After two days of hard work, we wrapped up convention with a Saturday night gala. Caregivers, who rarely get a night out, put on our dancing shoes and celebrated all that we accomplished together.

 

See pictures from the 2018 UDW Convention here.

 

2018 Convention Resolutions

  1. Restore the 7% Permanently
  2. Fair Labor Standards for Homecare Workers
  3. Stop Electronic Visit Verification
  4. Support Family Caregivers
  5. Universal Long Term Care
  6. Support for Safer Interactions between Law Enforcement and People with Disabilities
  7. Collective Bargaining for Child Care Providers
  8. Stop Sexual Assault and Harassment
  9. In Support of Pay Equity
  10. End Dark Money Interference in California Politics
  11. Affordable Housing
  12. Climate and Electric Vehicles
  13. Support Immigrant Workers
  14. Support of Peace and Justice in Palestine
  15. Support for Cannabis in Healthcare
  16. Protective Supervision
  17. Share of Cost Notification

“I was so proud to be an American,” said Vicky Coursey, an IHSS provider and UDW member from Placer County. Vicky was one of 34 UDW caregivers who tried to attend a town hall meeting with Congressman Tom McClintock that instead became a powerful rally to protect our health care, home care, and more.

“It made me proud to say that this is what democracy is all about,” said Vicky. “If we disagree, we can speak out.”

Despite reports of possible empty seats in the town hall, most of the crowd was not allowed in. Instead, we rallied together outside while the Republican Congressman who represents several counties including Placer and El Dorado, took questions and heat on issues including his stance on the executive order on immigration and health care.

If given the chance, Vicky would have asked Rep. McClintock not to repeal the Affordable Care Act (known as the ACA or Obamacare), but instead to work on making it even better. The health care law has been particularly important in her family’s life. “I have a granddaughter who has special needs who was able to stay on her parent’s insurance longer because of the ACA,” she said. “I was so grateful.”

Changes, cuts, or repeal of the ACA would have a devastating impact on the estimated 75,000 UDW caregivers, as well as 26,900 of Congressman McClintock’s own constituents who have free or lower cost health insurance because of it. Despite this, Rep. McClintock says Obamacare should be replaced even though a replacement plan that improves and expands access to health care has not yet been agreed upon.

UDW caregiver Adam Green said he wanted to ask Congressman McClintock how he would keep a promise he made to take care of veterans and help the new President do the same. Adam, a U.S. veteran himself, provides IHSS care for a fellow vet, and is worried about what could happen if Obamacare goes away. “I’m a disabled veteran,” explained Adam. “The care I don’t get through the VA, I rely on from the civilian side.”

UDW caregivers from Merced and Stanislaus counties travelled over 150 miles to stand side-by-side with fellow caregivers in Placer and El Dorado counties. Lidia Rodriguez from Merced County has diabetes, high blood pressure, and arthritis, and said she is thankful to have access to affordable health insurance because of the ACA. “I need my insurance,” she said, “but even if I wasn’t impacted, I would have still gone to stand with my UDW sisters and brothers, as well as the elderly and disabled – our clients.”

Richard Gold from Placer County was one of the only UDW members who was able to get inside the meeting. He said he got in line for the 10am town hall at 7am because he wanted to hear what the Congressman had to say. “I want this to be a better country and better place for everybody,” said Richard. “I’ve never been to a town hall, but I went because I care. I care about our country. I care about people. IHSS is at stake, and that means my livelihood—and my client’s care—is at stake.”

Town halls with our elected leaders and other opportunities to stand up for and protect our health care are happening in counties throughout the state. Contact your local UDW office to find out how you can get involved.

On Saturday, January 21st, millions of women, men, and children in hundreds of cities around the world stood together in unity as part of the Women’s March on Washington. In California, it is estimated that 880,000 or 1 in every 45 residents attended a local march in dozens of cities across the state.

For UDW members, the reasons to march were as diverse as the nearly 98,000 IHSS providers our union represents, but a sense of urgency and a passion to fight for our rights united us all. We were among the huge crowds of people standing up for the environment, equal rights for women and people of color, immigrant rights, the rights of people with disabilities, and LGBTQ rights, home care, and our health care – rights that millions feel are under attack.

“I marched because women should be able to make decisions about our bodies,” said UDW member Luz Cedeno from Orange County. “And I marched because taking away the Affordable Care Act without a plan, and potentially cutting Medicaid would be harmful.”

The day before the march, an executive order was signed to push federal agencies to weaken the Affordable Care Act (ACA) also known as Obamacare. Changes to the ACA that don’t include a plan to improve and replace it could be particularly detrimental to UDW caregivers and our families, because an estimated 75,000 of us are now eligible for free or lower cost health insurance because of it.

“I marched because everything that many before us fought and even died for is at risk of being undone,” said UDW Vice President Astrid Zuniga who spoke at the Women’s March in Modesto.

As a union, we have been fighters for many social justice causes. We do this work because none of us are only caregivers. We are women, men, young people, older adults, immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community, people of color, people with disabilities, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, low-wage workers, the middle class, formerly incarcerated people, and so much more. We don’t let these differences divide us, instead we meet at the intersection of all of these identities and fight together for justice for us all.

“It was so amazing and liberating to stand up for the rights of our clients and for home care,” said Kym Icke, a UDW member from San Diego County. “By marching, we told our elected leaders that we are here and we are important.”

“I marched to ensure our rights aren’t violated,” echoed UDW member Camilla Bradford from Riverside County. “Our health. Our choice. Our bodies. LGBT rights. Everything. We must unite, stand together, and fight. We can’t put women back 300 years.”

Desmond Prescott, also from Riverside County, was one of the many men who marched. “I marched to support my fellow caregivers, and celebrate the contribution these women make to our society.”

No matter your reason for marching or not marching, it was a historic day that our country and the world will remember for decades to come. “I took my granddaughter with me,” said Cassandra Sambrano, a UDW member who attended the march in Riverside. “She’s eight years old, and I took her because I wanted her to be part of history.”

We want this beautiful moment of solidarity to spark a movement that is not fleeting, but instead creates a ripple effect that continues to move people to action on issues facing our families and communities. Many UDW caregivers have been social justice activists for years, but some of us are new and need help figuring out what to do next. Some suggestions include:

  1. Stay active with our union. Click here to become a UDW member then click here to contact your local office, and find out how you can get involved in our work to protect the IHSS program and improve our communities.
  2. Take part in ongoing actions that matter to your fellow caregivers, your family, and our IHSS clients. For example, click here to stand up for our health care by calling your Congressional Representative and telling them to support the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid.

Let’s keep moving forward, together!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

UDW stands against President Trump’s executive action against immigrant families and planned action against refugees and Muslims

We are disappointed and concerned about President Trump’s decision to follow through on divisive campaign promises that target immigrants, refugees, and Muslims.

Increasing deportations, building a wall, and banning people from Muslim countries from entering the U.S. will not keep us safer. But they will tear our families apart, and fan the flames of hate and fear.

In his State of the State address this week, Governor Jerry Brown reminded us that an estimated 27% of Californians were born outside the United States. Immigrants and refugees contribute to the diversity that have made this state and country what it is. They are our neighbors, family, and friends, and many are home care workers who look after the health and safety of seniors and people with disabilities.

We should be building bridges, not walls.

If we truly want to “make America great,” our country must stop oppressing and targeting people simply because they do not look like the people who are in power, and instead serve as a beacon of justice for all.

Our union will fight back. We support Senator Lara’s bill (SB 31), which will protect Californians by prohibiting the creation of a registry on the basis of religious beliefs, practices, national origin, or ethnicity. We will serve as a safe place for immigrant families, refugees, and Muslims. We will do what we must to protect our families and communities.

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About UDW; United Domestic Workers of America (UDW)/AFSCME Local 3930 is a home care union made up of nearly 97,600 in-home caregivers across the state of California. UDW caregivers provide care through the state’s In-Home Supportive Services program (IHSS), which allows over half a million California seniors and people with disabilities to stay safe and healthy at home.

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As of the first of the year, the minimum wage in California has increased from $10 to $10.50 an hour. This increase is the first of many as the state’s minimum wage gradually goes up to $15 an hour. Read more here.

UDW caregivers in 14 counties including Alpine, Butte, Kern, Madera, Merced, Mono, Nevada, Orange, Plumas, San Diego, Sierra, Stanislaus, Sutter, and Tuolumne counties will see an improvement in our IHSS pay as a result of the new, higher minimum wage.

The minimum wage increase is no coincidence. UDW caregivers worked with other low wage workers to convince elected leaders to raise the wage, and lift California families out of poverty. And we won!

The minimum wage is scheduled to reach $15 by 2022, and in addition, the plan includes paid sick days for IHSS providers for the first time in history starting in 2018.

We will continue to celebrate this victory for working families, but we will not be complacent. UDW caregivers must continue to fight for more than minimum wage, because in-home care should not be a minimum wage job. The work we do is worth far more. That’s why UDW caregivers went All In for Care in 2016. We recommitted ourselves to the fight for wage and benefit improvements in UDW counties throughout the state, which you can read about here.

Click here to contact your local UDW office and find out how you too can go All In for Care.

Remember, no one IHSS provider can do it alone! Click here to join our work to increase IHSS provider pay in your county by becoming a member of UDW today.

Fight for Our Health Coalition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 20, 2016

CONTACT:   Mike Roth, 916.444.7170; Maria Elena Jauregui, 818.355.5291 (Spanish-language)

Bakersfield, CA –  Today, Congressional Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)’s Central Valley District became Ground Zero in a massive effort to fight back against Trump and GOP proposals that would strip 30 million Americans of health care under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and create chaos in the health care system we all count on.

“As a constituent of Congressman McCarthy, I am here to tell him we can’t go back to being uninsured,” said Carmen Morales-Board, a nurse practitioner who has worked at Kern Medical for 24-1/2 years and is an active member of SEIU’s statewide Nurse Alliance. “It means that my patients will have to go without their prescriptions to give their kids lunch money.  Republicans promised to replace Obamacare, but they have no plan – meanwhile our patients’ lives are hanging in the balance.”

Over 100 of Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s constituents who stand to lose health coverage under a Trump Administration and GOP Congress rallied outside his office to deliver a “Prescription for a Healthy New Year” that includes strengthening the ACA to protect the five million Californians who have health coverage under the landmark health care law. Last month, McCarthy told reporters he supports repealing the ACA with no replacement plan in place for the millions who would lose coverage, breaking with years of GOP claims to “repeal AND replace” the ACA.

McCarthy’s district includes portions of Tulare and Kern counties, which have the greatest proportion of residents insured by Medi-Cal in the state. McCarthy’s leadership position and the striking number of his own constituents who would lose healthcare under President-elect Trump and GOP Congressional Republicans have made Bakersfield Ground Zero in the fight to protect healthcare for millions of Americans.

Over the last 8 years, California has done more to expand health care access, expanding care to more than five million people in our state. Now, the progress that we have made is at risk under a Trump administration and GOP Congress:

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The Fight for Our Health Coalition includes Health Access, SEIU California, SEIU Local 521, SEIU-UHW, SEIU Local 2015, UFW Foundation, Dolores Huerta Foundation, UDW/ AFSCME Local 3930, UWUA 246, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, Project Inform, CIR/SEIU, California Alliance for Retired Americans, Community Health Initiative of Kern County, Faith in Action Kern County, California Partnership, Kern, Inyo, and Mono Counties Central Labor Council. 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 5, 2016

Sacramento – The 2016 UDW/AFSCME Local 3930 (UDW) Legislative Scorecard is now available. This year, state legislators and Governor Brown were scored on their support for policies that impact the nearly 98,000 In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) caregivers represented by UDW and the estimated 118,000 home care recipients who receive their care. This year’s scorecard also includes the overall career scores of the legislature and the governor dating back to 2009, when UDW began publishing legislative scorecards.

“This year, your votes supported policies that will keep people with disabilities safer in our communities, provide a path to retirement security for working families, increase the state’s minimum wage, and shed light on the inequality faced by more than 90,000 family caregivers who are not eligible for Social Security and other basic safety net benefits,” said UDW Executive Director Doug Moore.

This year, legislators and the governor were scored on home care related bills, including:

UDW thanks the dozens of Assemblymembers and Senators who voted with UDW 100 percent of the time this year, and looks forward to building on those victories and protecting home care together in the coming year.

Read the full UDW 2016 Legislative Scorecard here: http://www.udwa.org/2016/12/2016-legislative-scorecard.  

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United Domestic Workers of America (UDW)/AFSCME Local 3930 is a home care union made up of over 97,800 in-home caregivers across the state of California. UDW caregivers provide care through the state’s In-Home Supportive Services program (IHSS), which allows over half a million California seniors and people with disabilities to stay safe and healthy at home.

A new president means a new administration and new policies. And new policies or changes to existing ones can have effects on the IHSS program. While we don’t know what will happen yet, there are some things IHSS providers and recipients should be aware of as we continue our work to protect and strengthen California’s home care program.

What could that mean for IHSS? Benefits and eligibility for Medicaid-funded programs like IHSS here in California could be cut if federal funding is reduced. Remember, 55 percent of funding for the IHSS program comes from Medicaid, so changes to Medicaid funding will be felt by providers and our clients.

What could that mean for IHSS? Right now, many UDW caregivers and our families are among the estimated 20 million people who get their health insurance through the ACA. Many of us receive subsidies through Covered California, or receive Medi-Cal through the ACA’s expanded eligibility. In addition, California participates in the Community First Choice Option (CFCO), a program available through the ACA that provides increased funding to states who promote home and community based services like IHSS.  Changing or repealing the ACA could mean reduced funding for IHSS and leave many of us without health coverage.

What could that mean for IHSS? If this happens, federal funding for overtime pay goes away. This likely means the State will stop paying IHSS providers overtime pay, as our law states that it’s only required if authorized by federal law.

What could that mean for IHSS? The majority of our IHSS clients depend on SSI as their only or primary source of income. If SSI is cut, our clients’ quality of life could suffer.

Because IHSS is funded by the state and federal government, its future is tied directly to what happens in Sacramento and Washington D.C. That’s why we must be stronger together – to fight to protect our clients and loved ones in the face of these potential threats to our program.

UDW will keep you posted on how the recent election can and will affect providers, clients, and our families. Want to get involved in our efforts? Call your local UDW office today.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2016

Statement by UDW Executive Director Doug Moore in response to the 2016 election results:

“The election has come to an end, and the results are impacting voters differently throughout the country. While some are excited that their candidate was elected, others are left angry or confused. It’s important now to remember that we can be sad, we can be mad, but we cannot be deterred.

To everyone that knocked on doors, phone banked, and exercised their right to vote for their candidate – thank you.

This is a democracy, and we must hold our leaders accountable. We must work together to ensure that the President, as well as leaders in the House and Senate work for all Americans, including people of color, women, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, caregivers, seniors, and people with disabilities. No matter who you voted for, it’s time for the negative rhetoric to stop, and for us to regroup and come together. This election cycle was divisive, but going forward UDW caregivers will continue to unite not behind our politics, but our shared goal of protecting and strengthening the home care program and our communities.”

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United Domestic Workers of America (UDW)/AFSCME Local 3930 is a homecare union made up of nearly 94,000 in-home caregivers across the state of California. UDW caregivers provide care through the state’s In-Home Supportive Services program (IHSS), which allows hundreds of thousands of seniors and people with disabilities to stay safe and healthy at home.

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UDW caregivers and caregivers from SEIU 2015 were in Los Angeles yesterday to demand answers and action from the state. During a Senate Human Services oversight hearing at City Hall, we voiced our concerns and frustrations with the current outdated and cumbersome IHSS payroll system. Home care providers and recipients made the case for fixing the process once and for all.

“Inconsistency is the problem,” testified Claire Kaufman, an IHSS provider for her daughter in El Dorado County. “Not knowing how much I will be paid next time I send in a timesheet, or if I will be paid at all is the problem.”

This year, the State announced an electronic timesheet option would be offered in 2017. While this is a great step in the right direction, it was critical that we demand reforms to the paper timesheet process during the hearing.

UDW caregiver Cynthia Wilson from Madera County testified at the hearing

UDW caregiver Cynthia Wilson from Madera County testified at the hearing

Cynthia Wilson, an IHSS provider from Madera County, was evicted from her home in January because she didn’t receive a paycheck from October to December of last year. Cynthia and her 14-year-old grandson were forced to sleep in her car while she worked to afford and find a new apartment with an eviction on her record.

“I was finally able to save up enough to rent a house for me and my grandson,” said Cynthia during her testimony. “Things worked out this time, but I worry about the next time this happens. Many IHSS caregivers like me are just one late paycheck away from homelessness.”

Unfortunately, Cynthia’s story is not unique. Too many IHSS providers have felt the negative impact of waiting for a delayed paycheck or timesheet. Many of us know what it’s like to get behind on our bills or have to pay late fees, because our checks arrive days, weeks, or months later than expected.

Lizet Ibarra and her mother work as providers for Lizet’s younger sister in Orange County. Lizet attended the hearing to advocate for her mom who stayed home to care for her sister. “For the past year and a half my mom’s checks have been delayed 15 to 20 days,” said Lizet. “That puts my mom in a hardship with her HOA fees, late charge fees, and mortgage fees. In the past two months she has not received one check. This is what gets me more agitated.”

IHSS provider Lizet Ibarra attended the hearing to advocate for her mother who is also a provider

IHSS provider Lizet Ibarra attended the hearing to advocate for her mother who is also a provider

Senator Mike McGuire, Senator Connie Leyva, and Senator Richard Roth listened to our stories, and then questioned representatives from the Department of Social Services about the current payroll process. “Making sure people are paid for the work that they do is fundamental,” said Senator Leyva.

Senator McGuire was concerned about the amount of providers who deal with paycheck delays each month. “No private employer would be allowed to delay pay for employees,” he said. “The state can’t be delaying checks to 14,000 IHSS providers.”

Our union is committed to working with the State to update the payroll process. “The payroll system for IHSS providers is rife with problems and unacceptable in its current state,” said UDW Legislative Director Kristina Bas Hamilton. “We proposed a number of recommendations – some are sweeping in scope while others are simpler, common sense “fixes” – that we believe will go a long way to make the system more efficient.”

Among our suggestions were switching from semimonthly to biweekly pay periods, and allowing providers to download our timesheets to cut down on the time spent waiting for them to arrive via mail.

During her testimony, Claire Kaufman who has experienced late or incorrect paychecks three times in the last year, aptly summed up the importance of fixing the payroll system. “We work hard for our clients,” she said. “Like any other workers, we need timely and correct paychecks. Our families can’t afford anything less, and we don’t deserve anything less.”

UDW will provide updates on our continued work to improve the IHSS payroll system on www.udwa.org and the UDW Facebook page – www.facebook.com/UDW.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2016

Contacts: Margitte Kristjansson, 619-548-4304 (English) | Melissa Uribe, 213-590-9091 (English / Spanish)

Home care workers testified at Senate Human Services Oversight Hearing in Los Angeles today, in effort to seek changes to the State Payroll Processing System

Los Angeles, CA – In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers and allies from throughout the state testified today at the Senate Human Services Oversight Hearing regarding continued issues with the state payroll and timesheet processing system, which have resulted in late paychecks and delayed timesheets for caregivers.

With the state’s population rapidly aging, the demand for home care providers continues to grow. According to the California Public Policy Institute, California’s senior population – those 65 and older – will nearly double in the next 15 years. Yet despite the importance and need for this work, the over 460,000 home care workers who provide services through California’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) are all too often paid late or incorrectly.

“This year, I was evicted from my home along with my grandson, because of late IHSS timesheets and paychecks,” said Cynthia Wilson, IHSS provider and UDW member from Madera County. “Things worked out this time, but I worry about the next time this happens. Many IHSS caregivers like me are just one late paycheck away from homelessness.”

“For the last two months, I’ve basically been working for free. My rent is a month past due and I can barely afford to make my car payment” said Magdalena Alvarado, IHSS provider and SEIU Local 2015 member from Los Angeles County. “For the last two months, I’ve simply been asked to wait while my situation is sorted out. Well, while I wait my care recipient still needs to be taken to her doctor appointments, fed, and bathed.”

“The payroll system for IHSS providers is rife with problems and unacceptable in its current state,” said UDW’s Legislative Director, Kristina Bas Hamilton. “Today we proposed a number of recommendations – some are sweeping in scope while others are simpler, common sense “fixes” – that we believe will go a long way to make the system more efficient.”

Some of the proposed fixes include a switch to biweekly pay periods (instead of semimonthly) to make it easier for workers to comply with new overtime rules, as well as allowing workers to download their timesheets to reduce the time they have to wait to receive them via mail.

 View member testimonies here.

 Follow the conversation: @SEIU2015 @UDWA #PayUsOnTime

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About UDW; United Domestic Workers of America (UDW)/AFSCME Local 3930 is a home care union made up of nearly 94,000 in-home caregivers across the state of California. UDW caregivers provide care through the state’s In-Home Supportive Services program (IHSS), which allows over half a million California seniors and people with disabilities to stay safe and healthy at home.

About SEIU Local 2015: With representational responsibility for over 325,000 home care and nursing home workers, SEIU Local 2015 is the biggest long term care union in California. It is our mission to unleash the collective power of long term care workers, their families, and their communities, harness the power of technology, and build a broad movement to disrupt the unjust status quo in order to bring lasting transformational change towards a more just society for all.

November is Provider Appreciation Month, and this year UDW is thanking caregivers for everything we do. UDW caregivers are not only home care providers for our clients, but we’re strong advocates for seniors, people with disabilities, and our families.

Our work is high stress, but it’s also high reward. We are professional home care workers who spend our days looking after the health and safety of our clients. We are there day after day with quality in-home care to make sure they are happy and able to remain in their homes.

But UDW caregivers go above and beyond. Not only do we care for our clients, but we work together and win victories that have a positive impact on their lives. And we don’t just advocate for home care recipients, we stand up for our fellow IHSS providers and our families as well.

Last year, we helped secure overtime pay for IHSS providers, and this year thousands of us have benefited from that hard fought battle. In 2016, we also worked together and won an extended restoration of our IHSS clients’ hours of care – ending the harmful 7% cut for three more years. In April, we helped win a path to a $15 an hour minimum wage and paid sick days for IHSS providers. And we started our work to help providers who care for their child or spouse win Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment pay – basic benefits these family caregivers are currently denied. We’ve proved time and time again that UDW caregivers are stronger together. (Read more about our victories here.)

We’ve faced home care threats, but united we’ve come out stronger than ever. That’s why this month, UDW doesn’t just want to thank caregivers for the work we do as home care providers – but also the work we do to protect and strengthen the home care program.

Check out a Provider Appreciation Month event in your area. And once again, thank you, Caregivers!

Riverside County – November 3rd – 10am to 3pm – RSVP: 866-417-7300

El Dorado County – November 3rd – 6pm to 8pm – RSVP: 888-228-0837

Butte County – November 4th – 12pm to 2pm – RSVP: 530-894-2702

Santa Barbara & San Luis Obispo Counties – November 5th – 12pm to 3pm – RSVP: 877-369-6505

Stanislaus County – November 10th – 11am to 2pm –RSVP: 866-307-7271

Nevada County – November 10th – 6pm to 8pm – RSVP: 888-228-0837

Kern County – November 12th – 12pm to 3pm – RSVP: 800-851-7272

San Diego County – November 15th – 3pm to 7pm – RSVP: 800-621-5016

Madera County – November 15th – 11am to 2pm – RSVP: 559-395-4772

Merced County – November 17th – 11am to 2pm – RSVP: 866-255-7313

Sutter County – November 17th – 6pm to 8pm – RSVP: 888-228-0837

Imperial County – November 17th – 3:30pm to 7:30pm – RSVP: 760-425-4034

Orange County – November 18th – 11am to 4pm – RSVP: 877-483-9937

Riverside County – November 18th – 10am to 3pm – 866-417-7300

Placer County – December 8th – 6pm to 8pm – RSVP: 888-228-0837

The state recently announced its plan to offer an option for providers to submit timesheets electronically instead of using the current paper system. Electronic timesheets could help alleviate the stress, headaches, and hardships that come when IHSS providers are forced to wait for late paychecks. A new system could ensure we are paid correctly and on time.

In this proposal, providers would be able to access and submit timesheets using a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

The state plans to first conduct a pilot to test the new electronic system in one or two counties beginning in May 2017. If this pilot is successful, the goal would be to roll out the electronic option to all IHSS caregivers by July 1, 2017.

UDW is working closely with the state as they develop this new process. We want to ensure that electronic timesheets are an improvement over paper timesheets. The best way to do so is to work with caregivers, so UDW will host a small focus group of IHSS providers in early December to test the new technology and give the state feedback.

We will keep you posted on any new developments or changes here at www.udwa.org and on Facebook – www.facebook.com/UDW.

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My name is Aurora Viramontes Rivera, and I work as a home care provider for two of my children in Orange County, California. I am overjoyed and grateful that home care workers are now eligible for overtime pay. For my family, the added income has drastically improved our quality of life.

I’ve always been appreciative that the In-Home Supportive Services program (IHSS) gives me the opportunity to provide my children with the best care possible. I’m not just their mother. I’m the caregiving professional who knows their conditions and their needs best.

Unfortunately, while I love my work, it hasn’t always been easy. Both Atzel and Alix live with disabilities, but when Atzel was initially given fewer hours of in-home care a month than his condition requires, it impacted our entire family. Thankfully my union, the United Domestic Workers/AFSCME Local 3930 (UDW), was able to help us secure 200 additional hours of care for Atzel by helping me successfully appeal the original assessment.

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The extra home care hours ensure that no matter who his caregiver is, Atzel will always have the amount of care he needs. Since I am Atzel’s current caregiver, it also translates into real dollars for our family.
The changes for our family didn’t stop at extra hours. When I found out home care providers were finally going to be paid fairly for all the hours we work, I couldn’t believe it. As a professional caregiver, I know how tough our work is, but to know that our elected leaders were finally acknowledging that was great. Overtime pay for home care providers means that caregivers are receiving basic rights that most Americans probably take for granted.

My family sure hasn’t taken it for granted. I have far fewer sleepless nights. The extra money overtime provided allowed my husband and I to move our family of six out of our tiny apartment and into a roomier three-bedroom house. My kids are happier, and I have more peace of mind as I watch them play in our backyard. We also bought a more reliable car, which we use to transport our children to their doctors’ appointments.

Overtime pay means I can actually save money, and my family’s goal is to save enough to purchase our own home. For me, overtime pay isn’t about giving home care providers extra, it’s about giving us the pay we’ve worked for, that we need and our families deserve.

toni monique

My name is Toni Monique Taloa, and I’m a home care provider in Buena Park, California. I initially became a professional home care worker to take care of my elderly grandmother. My grandmother was originally assessed just 80 hours of in-home care each month – far less than she needed – by California’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) home care program. My union, the United Domestic Workers/AFSCME Local 3930 (UDW), helped me successfully appeal the decision, and my grandmother’s home care hours were increased from 80 to 283 per month.

As a person who honestly did not believe in the power of being a union member, this help was just what was needed to change my mind. After that I wanted to know what else the collective power of home care workers could accomplish, so I became a UDW volunteer. As a more involved member, I would eventually become one of the many home care providers in California who fought for fair implementation of our overtime benefits.

My grandmother has since passed away, but I’ve been responsible for my sister Tonya’s care since 2012. When Tonya was born, she was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, also known as water on the brain, which caused cerebral palsy. When I learned my sister had been moved into a nursing home, I took her out and moved her into my home. I knew my sister would get the best possible care among family with me working as her caregiver.

Unfortunately, despite the vital, cost saving nature of our profession, working as a home care provider has been rough on my budget. There have been many times when I wasn’t really living, I was just surviving. And it’s not just me who is affected: my sister Tonya depends on me to provide for her needs as well, including food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and medication.

That’s why I got involved with my fellow UDW home care workers in our fight to win overtime pay. I knew we were excluded, but I never knew why. I was excited when in 2011, President Obama announced in-home caregivers would soon receive basic labor protections like overtime. And I joined my fellow caregivers in celebration when the U.S. Department of Labor amended the Fair Labor Standards Act to include home care workers after decades of unfair exclusion.

After the announcement at the federal level, we fought hard, wading through challenges in the courts and from our own governor. When overtime was finally implemented here in California for IHSS home care providers, it changed not only my life, but Tonya’s as well.

Now that I have overtime pay, I’ve been able to comfortably provide Tonya with the food her condition requires her to have. I’m able to pay our rent, and no longer live with the fear that we could be evicted from our home, forcing me into a shelter and Tonya back into a nursing home. Overall, overtime pay was crucial to ensuring Tonya and I are able to remain in our home. And the extra money overtime provides gave me something I think is priceless: time. Tonya has a second home care provider who comes in 20 hours per month to give me a break – something we would not have been able to afford in the past.

maria cota

My name is Maria Cota, and I’ve been an IHSS caregiver since 1993.

In 2013, I had a stroke and the recovery made it difficult for me to keep working as a home care provider. Once I was back on my feet and ready to get back to work, the UDW Match program helped me find a new home care client. Now, I’m working again and I don’t have to worry about how I will pay my bills and support myself.

UDW Match is one of our members-only benefits. It is a totally free home care referral service that connects home care providers with seniors and people with disabilities who need our care.

I’ve been a home care provider for 25 years, and an IHSS provider for 23 years. It is the work I know best, and the job I love. Before my current client, I worked for a woman with leukemia. But while caring for her I also had health issues of my own, which culminated in a stroke in December 2013.

I spent four weeks in the hospital, and went through at-home therapy for an additional four weeks after I was released. I had to learn basic tasks and knowledge, like my colors and how to make purchases in a store, all over again. It was a rough road, and it took about a year, but I got through it.

I heard about UDW Match at one of our San Diego County membership meetings. I needed a new client so I asked for more information. The process was pretty simple: I completed a caregiver enrollment form, and UDW Match began the work of pairing me with a client looking for care. The program matched me to a client based on her unique care needs, and ensured our compatibility. From start to finish, the process took less than three weeks.

My matched client is Estela. She lives with asthma, nerve problems, and arthritis. Estela was so happy with my care that she asked me to care for her 44-year-old son who lives with schizophrenia as well.

Our work isn’t high paying, and turnover of clients can happen frequently. I recommend UDW Match to any UDW caregiver in need of a new or additional client. Knowing this is one of the benefits of being a UDW member has really made me love our union. I feel like UDW is member-driven and member focused, and wants the best for us all.

Maria Cota is a home care provider and UDW member in San Diego County.

UDW Match is currently servicing San Diego County only. The goal is to expand the program to other counties soon.

UDW Press Conference-131

“It makes you feel like a second-class citizen,” said Claire Kaufman, an IHSS provider for her daughter, Katie, who lives with autism in El Dorado County.

Claire was reacting to Governor Brown’s decision today to veto Assembly Bill 1930. Like nearly 86,000 other parent and spouse providers, Claire was hoping the governor would do the right thing and put providers on a path to securing Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment pay—basic safety net benefits that IHSS providers who care for their child or spouse are currently excluded from.

This year our union UDW sponsored AB 1930, and caregivers shared our stories with legislators at the Capitol, signed petitions, and called our elected leaders, urging them to stand with us on this vital issue. Our hard work paid off: the bill received unprecedented bipartisan support and was passed unanimously by both the State Assembly and the Senate. Once it got to the governor’s desk, we made one last push to get it passed when we delivered petitions signed by thousands of Californians urging the governor to sign the bill.

UDW caregiver Claire Kaufman with her daughters

UDW caregiver Claire Kaufman with her daughters

But today Governor Brown vetoed AB 1930 in spite of our efforts, leaving tens of thousands of spouse and parent caregivers worrying about whether we will ever be able to retire without the supplemental benefit of Social Security. And without unemployment pay, many of us will continue to wonder what would happen to our families if our client passes away.

These problems may sound far off or abstract to some, including the governor, but to home care providers, they are very real.

“Like many home care recipients, a lot of our family members are medically fragile,” said Claire. “I have a six-year-old daughter at home as well. If something happened to Katie, my youngest daughter and I would have to rely on public assistance because I don’t qualify for unemployment.”

Cathyleen Williams from Barstow worked as her son Caleb's IHSS provider until he passed this year

Cathyleen Williams from Barstow worked as her son Caleb’s IHSS provider until he passed this year

Cathyleen Williams from San Bernardino County knows that nightmare firsthand. Her son Caleb passed away this year. When he passed, she not only lost her most precious loved one, but her entire income as well. Cathyleen applied for unemployment benefits because she’d worked as her son’s IHSS provider for nine years. She was shocked when she was denied, all because her IHSS client was her son.

Cathyleen shared her story when she joined UDW caregivers at the Capitol in Sacramento to deliver our petitions urging the governor to sign AB 1930. “No one should have to endure the death of their young child,” she said. “But to grieve while also scrambling to make sure your bills are paid and you don’t end up homeless? I wouldn’t wish this nightmare on my greatest enemy.”

And it is a nightmare. It’s also a source of frustration and confusion for home care providers who know our work is worthy of the same respect and benefits as all other work.

“I’m a single mom who works as a full-time caregiver,” said Jesse Torres from San Diego County. “I take my job seriously. I’ve completed trainings and received certifications to make sure I provide my daughter the best care she can get.”

Jesse’s 12-year-old daughter Cessia lives with Rett syndrome, which causes physical and mental disabilities. To manage Cessia’s condition, Jesse has worked as her full-time IHSS provider for 10 years. “Why am I not eligible for the same benefits as any other mother who goes to her job every day?” Jesse asked. “I could put my daughter in a medical facility or a nursing home that would cost the state more money, and the caregivers there would do the same work but they would get these benefits.”

Despite the governor’s decision today, UDW will continue to make winning Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment pay for spouse and parent providers a top priority. “All home care providers are workers who deserve dignity and respect,” said UDW Executive Director Doug Moore. “Spouse and parent home care providers have worked long enough without access to these basic benefits.”

UDW will keep you updated on our continued work to win Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment benefits for spouse and parent caregivers via our website – www.udwa.org – and our Facebook page – www.facebook.com/UDW.

UDW caregivers are working hard to win better wages and benefits for IHSS providers around the state, because our families need and deserve more. Not to mention, our work is worth more than low pay or minimum wage. We do work that is priceless to our clients and cost saving to our communities, so we’re fighting for a living wage together.

Going All In for Care means we are fighting for better pay and benefits for IHSS providers.

In San Diego, Riverside, and Orange counties we’re working together to negotiate an IHSS contract that will improve the lives of providers and our families. Unfortunately, the state believes our work is only worth minimum wage, and they want to keep IHSS providers at low wages and weak benefits. At the bargaining table, they have proposed a contract that would pay providers in San Diego and Orange counties minimum wage for at least the next three years, and would deny providers in Riverside a raise until 2019.

Our UDW contract proposal would raise our wages immediately, and give IHSS providers better health care and paid time off.

But instead of meeting with UDW caregivers again soon so that we can come to a fair agreement, the state has put off the next round of negotiations until late October.

In addition to San Diego, Riverside, and Orange counties, we’re fighting for better wages in multiple counties around the state. Call your local UDW office to find out how you can get involved and go All In for Care.bargaining image

Ana Fierro, family child care provider from Modesto.

Ana Fierro, family child care provider from Modesto.

My name is Ana Fierro, and I’m a family child care provider in Modesto. My mother-in-law’s influence iswhat convinced me to open my own daycare, and 12 years later I’m still going strong. I love caring for children, and I love my work.

Unfortunately, as most of you can attest, being a family child care provider is not without its problems. For me personally, one the biggest issues I face is late payments. It’s frustrating not knowing when I will be paid, and has all too often made it tough for me to stay on top of my own household bills.

That’s why I’ve gotten involved with Child Care Providers United of California (CCPU/UDW). A few weeks ago I went to a CCPU meeting at the UDW office in Modesto – one of our 13 offices in California. We talked about the state’s increasing minimum wage, and how it will affect providers. I learned that a lot of providers share the same worries about paying their assistants the new minimum wage.

Then I learned that UDW family child care providers worked to offset that increased cost, by winning subsidy rate increases in next year’s state budget. That means that for many of us, as the expense of paying daycare assistants a higher wage increases, so will our income as providers. And providers around the state in San Diego, Sacramento, Stanislaus, Contra Costa, Orange, Ventura, and right here in Modesto also deal with late payments through the Alternative Payment program.

It felt good to not only discuss these problems during the meeting, but also brainstorm possible solutions. I know that the only way to tackle the issues facing our daycare is to unite as providers, and continue to build power together.

Attending the CCPU meeting at UDW made me feel stronger and more excited, and I want to continue to build our strength. I encourage my fellow family child care providers to get involved. Attend the next meeting in October, and click here to complete our survey and let CCPU know the issues facing your daycare!

Ana Fierro is a family child care provider in Modesto, California.

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It’s Labor Day weekend. For many Americans that means a three-day weekend to eat barbecue and enjoy the last days of summer with loved ones, but Labor Day represents a lot more. As we go All In for Care at the bargaining table to win better pay and benefits for caregivers, we should keep in mind the history of the holiday.

Labor Day was created by union members in the late 1800s to recognize the contributions workers have made to building our country, and making it prosperous. Home care workers and other domestic workers have cared for our nation’s seniors and people with disabilities for decades, even centuries. Our work keeps this country moving forward by ensuring that those who need it have access to the quality care they deserve. The care we provide allows people to age with dignity, and allows individuals with disabilities to receive care at home rather than institutions.

UDW caregiver William Reed from Placer County

UDW caregiver William Reed from Placer County

It’s important to recognize the achievements and value of workers, but to also remember that some workers, including home care providers remain undervalued and underappreciated. Labor Day became a national holiday in 1896, but IHSS providers still work without paid holidays. And until last year, we’d endured decades of exclusion from the Fair Labor Standards Act, which gave most workers overtime pay benefits almost 80 years ago.

UDW caregiver William Reed from Placer County provides care for his adult son who lives with autism. William recently spoke out about the need to treat IHSS providers with the same respect as other workers. “Our work is real work,” he said. “It’s time to make a change, and start treating the work of all home care providers with dignity and respect.”

It’s true, and UDW caregivers have had to fight for many of the same basic rights most workers enjoy automatically. Whether it’s securing overtime, stopping cuts to the IHSS program, or helping raise the state’s minimum wage; we have proved that when we fight together, we can win!

Marcus Haynes is an IHSS provider in Riverside County. He provides care for his uncle who lives with schizophrenia. Marcus is also a member of the bargaining team that includes other UDW members from Riverside, as well as San Diego and Orange counties. Providers in those counties are currently in contract negotiations with the state in an effort to win better pay and benefits for IHSS providers in all three counties. “Some of us do the same work as nurses, but we don’t make a living wage,” said Marcus. “Bargaining together gives us all a voice in the process to improve our wages.”

Marcus and the bargaining team are fighting for an immediate raise, improved health care, paid sick leave, and vacation time. However, the state continues to devalue our work. The state’s contract proposal includes keeping providers at minimum wage with no raise, and no improvements to our benefits.

We will continue to fight, because we are All In for Care! Whether you are bargaining with the state, or

UDW caregiver Darlene Nelson from San Diego County

UDW caregiver Darlene Nelson from San Diego County

your county’s public authority, we must all continue to unite together to win more for our families. Darlene Nelson who works as an IHSS provider for her two adult daughters recently spoke out about not settling for low wages and poor benefits at a rally in San Diego. “Our work and our clients’ care is worth far more than the minimum,” she said. “I’m all in for care!”

This Labor Day weekend and beyond, if you are All In for Care, call 1-866-584-5792, and tell your lawmaker to support pay and benefit increases for IHSS providers.

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Yesterday, UDW caregivers from around the state gathered in Sacramento to urge Governor Brown to sign Assembly Bill 1930. We delivered petitions signed by over 3,600 IHSS providers and members of our communities to his office in the Capitol.

Assembly Bill 1930 addresses a problem facing an estimated 86,000 parent and spouse IHSS providers who are currently left out of Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment benefits because of unfair state and federal policies.

“Parent and spouse providers work as hard as other home care workers,” said Lidia Rodriguez who works as the home care provider for her son and a 73-year-old woman in Stanislaus County. “All workers should have access to these benefits.”

Susana Saldana provides care for her son Mario who lives with cerebral palsy in Merced County. Unlike Lidia who should receive Social Security and other benefits for the work she does for her elderly, non-family client, Susana cares solely for Mario and she’s worried about her future. “I may not be able to retire,” she said. “I could end up homeless without Social Security.”

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Susana Saldana from Merced works as her son’s IHSS caregiver

If AB 1930 becomes law, it will be the first step in our journey to secure these vital retirement and social safety net benefits for home care workers who care for their spouse or child. The bill would establish the In-Home Supportive Services Family Caregiver Benefits Advisory Committee, which would study how denying workers benefits like Social Security and unemployment hurt IHSS providers and our families. “It’s an injustice,” said Assemblymember Tom Lackey (R – Palmdale), the author of AB 1930. “It’s something that is very wrong with our system.”

So far, with help from UDW caregivers, as well as Assemblymember Lackey and the bill’s coauthors, Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D – San Diego) and Senator Mike McGuire (D – Healdsburg), AB 1930 has gathered widespread public support and was passed by both the Assembly and the Senate with unanimous, bipartisan support.

Another member of the legislature, Assemblymember Cheryl Brown (D – San Bernardino) who serves as a caregiver for her husband who lives with ALS, came out to support caregivers yesterday. “Home care providers do the tough, stressful, yet vital work of looking after the day-to-day needs of the people for whom they care,” she said. “Despite the important nature of in-home care, all caregivers are not treated equally.”

UDW Executive Director Doug Moore thanked the legislature for their support, and called on Governor Brown to follow suit. “Home care workers, like nearly every worker in this country, including our governor, should at the very least receive Social Security when they retire,” he said.

William Reed takes care of his 39-year-old son in Placer County. His son lives with autism and requires constant care. Although William receives retirement benefits from a previous job, he worries about his wife who doesn’t pay into Social Security or Medicare. “We follow the same guidelines,” he said. “We’re held up to the same standards as all IHSS home care providers…We are paid caregivers. This work is our job. We deserve to retire with the same benefits as nearly every other American worker.”

Cathyleen Williams’ son Caleb was born with a terminal heart defect. Cathyleen worked as Caleb’s IHSS provider in Barstow until he passed away in March. When she applied for unemployment, Cathyleen was denied, because her home care client was her son.

“No one should have to endure the death of their young child,” she said. “But to grieve while also scrambling to make sure your bills are paid and that you don’t end up homeless? I wouldn’t wish this nightmare on my greatest enemy.”

Cathyleen Williams from Barstow worked as her son Caleb's IHSS provider until he passed this year

Cathyleen Williams from Barstow worked as her son Caleb’s IHSS provider until he passed this year

William and Cathyleen were joined by about a dozen UDW caregivers as they walked the petitions into the Capitol. Once inside, William and Cathyleen, accompanied by UDW Executive Director Doug Moore, Assemblymember Cheryl Brown, and Assemblymember Lackey took the petitions into the governor’s office. Assemblymember Lackey gave our message to a member of Governor Brown’s staff: “These are support petitions for this particular measure the governor will be evaluating soon. The measure was unanimous in both houses…it’s very, very important to very many people.”

Yesterday, with the delivery of our petitions, we gave Governor Brown over 3,600 reasons to do what is right and sign Assembly Bill 1930. He has until the end of September to sign or veto the bill.